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SCIO briefing on TCM's important role and a list of effective drugs in COVID-19 prevention and control

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on March 23 in Wuhan, Hubei province, to introduce the important role of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and a list of effective drugs in COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control.

China.org.cnUpdated: March 25, 2020

US network NBC:

It was reported that China has flown medical materials to Italy and dispatched a medical team consisting of TCM experts. Many people don't believe TCM is scientific. Are you worried that Western patients may be not ready to receive TCM treatment? Thank you.

Huang Luqi:

Thanks for your question. I am not worried at all. I don't worry because I am confident in TCM and the practice confirms this. Belonging to totally different medical systems, TCM and Western medicine study diseases and health from different perspectives based on clinical efficacy. Just now, Ms. Yu Yanhong mentioned Chinese scientist Tu Youyou, who received the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her work in helping to discover artemisinin, which is widely used to treat malaria. Based on clinical efficacy, TCM has now been spread to 183 countries and regions. Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show Chinese acupuncture has been recognized by 103 WHO member countries. The 72nd World Health Assembly passed the Eleventh Revision of the International Classification of Diseases that, for the first time, adopted chapters on traditional medicine originated from TCM.

Based on clinical efficacy, Ms. Yu introduced you to the "three medicines and three formulas", and Mr. Qiu and Mr. Zhang briefed on other three prescriptions. Now, I will also elaborate on the "three formulas" in accordance with their clinical efficacy.

The first formula is the Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Decoction which is derived from several classic recipes including Ephedra, Apricot, Kernel, Gypsum, and Licorice Decoction, Belamcanda chinesis and Ephedra Decoction, Minor Bupleurum Decoction, and Poria Five Powder. It can be used as a general recipe for treating mild, moderate, severe and critically-ill patients.

Out of the 1,263 patients at 66 designated medical institutions in 10 provinces (excluding Hubei), 1,214 or 96.12% have been discharged from hospital after recovery. According to clinical observation, among the 57 patients with severe symptoms who received TCM treatment combined with Western medicine and took the Qingfeipaidu Formula, 42 or 73.7% have been discharged from hospital after recovering and none developed into critical cases. A comparison of CT images showed that lesions in the lungs of 53 patients (or 93%) had more or less shrank in size after they took the Qingfeipaidu Formula for two courses of treatment (six days).

Data from clinical studies suggest that the Qingfeipaidu Formula has played a positive role in preventing mild and common cases from worsening into severe and critical ones. By avoiding a deterioration in the patients' conditions, the medicine has greatly reduced the mortality rate and blunted the harm of the epidemic.

The second formula is the Xuanfeibaidu Formula, which was derived from several classic formulas, including Maxingshigan Decoction, Maxingyigan Decoction, Tinglidazao Xuanfei Decoction, and Qianjinweijing Decoction. A case-control study was conducted at Wuhan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese & Western Medicine to compare the outcomes of 70 patients who took the formula with a control group of 50. The study proved the significant efficacy of the formula in controlling inflammation and increasing lymphocytes. Compared with the control group, the lymphocyte recovery of the patients treated with the formula was 17% higher, and the clinical recovery rate was 22% higher.

The First Affiliated Hospital of Henan University of TCM treated 40 mild and common patients with the formula. After taking the formula for an average of 9.66 days, the patients saw the nucleic acid test turn negative. None developed into severe or critical cases, and the improvement rate by CT diagnosis was 85%.

Wuhan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese & Western Medicine and the makeshift hospital in Wuhan's Jiangxia district conducted a cohort study among 500 patients treated with the formula. The study showed that the symptoms of mild and common patients, including fever, cough and fatigue, were significantly alleviated, as shown by CT scans, and none turned into severe cases.

The third formula is the Huashibaidu Formula, developed by the national TCM team from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. It is based on the recommendations of the early national diagnosis and treatment plan as well as experiences from clinical practice.

Clinical observations were conducted at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, the makeshift hospital in Wuhan's Dongxihu district and the health center of Wuhan's Jiangjunlu street on the curative effect of the formula for severe, common and mild patients respectively. CT images of the 75 severe patients at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital showed significant improvements in lung conditions and clinical symptoms. The time it took to turn the nucleic acid negative and the length of hospital stay was shortened by an average of three days. The efficacy was further confirmed by a study on 124 common patients at the health center of Wuhan's Jiangjunlu street, as well as randomized controlled observations of 894 mild and common patients (452 were treated with TCM) at the makeshift hospital in Wuhan's Dongxihu district. No adverse reactions related with the medicine were identified after monitoring the hepatic and renal functions of the patients who took the Huashibaidu Granule. In addition, an experiment on guinea pigs with the coronavirus found the formula can reduce lung viral load by 30%.

The National Medical Products Administration approved clinical trials of the Huashibaidu Granule on March 18. The research and development process of TCM is different from that of chemical or biological medicines. The Huashibaidu Formula is derived from clinical practice. The approval document has provided material evidence for the theories and clinical efficacy of TCM, and an opportunity to effectively translate the research data of TCM into high-level clinical evidence.

After receiving the approval, a great number of foreign friends asked us for the medicine. They nicknamed the formula "Q-14." The letter Q stands for "cure," while "14" refers to the fact that the medicine is composed of 14 herbal components. As the saying goes: "One for all, and all for one." We are ready to stand together with the people of other countries to fight the coronavirus, and share our experiences and achievements in TCM. Thank you.

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